In a speech delivered last week, Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari for the joint UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), claimed that the mission has “significantly stabilized the situation in Darfur” and “that the number of armed attacks in all three Darfur states has fallen by as much as 70% over the past three years.” However, Gambari’s portrayal of the situation in Darfur is dangerously inaccurate and despite his misleading statements, the region remains incredibly unstable.
According to information from UN reports, attacks in Darfur have in fact increased over the past several years: in 2009 there were approximately 70 reports of armed attacks in Darfur, in 2010 there was evidence of at least 86 armed attacks in Darfur, and so far in 2011 there have already been 80 reported incidents.*
The Darfur people continue to be targeted by the President Omar al-Bashir’s brutal regime and since December 2010, over 108,000 Darfuris have been displaced by the Sudanese government. Last Friday, Darfuris demanded an apology from Gambari dismissing his statement as false. By downplaying the highly insecure environment in Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari is misleading the international community, which could have a dire effect on the Darfuri people.
The international community must not forget the people of Darfur and must not be deterred by inaccurate depictions of the situation in the region where they continue to suffer.
*Attack figures compiled from UNAMID, UNSG, and OCHA reports